Friday, May 30, 2008

Espresso, I shall take you down!

Some amazing friends of ours bought Luke and I an amazing espresso machine/coffee maker. On second thought, though, I realized that I could probably survive my lifetime with a slightly less awesome one, and use the left over awesomeness to buy ... other stuff.

So last night Luke and I headed to Bed, Bath and Beyond, scored an espresso machine, grinder, a few towels and a shower curtain that I LOVE.

Yay us :-).

Now, the complicated part.

The stupid espresso machine refuses to be conquered. Rather than running a certain amount of water through the filter, it runs until you turn it off, so you have to manually control the run. This will work fine once I figure out the best way to grind the coffee and how long to run the water.

I SHALL conquer, thou machine!

Making dinner next week for an FRG family with a new baby. I'll probably end up making a pork roast and some muffins -- let's not lie, those are two things I am good at making.

By the way -- chocolate espresso muffins last night were totally a hit.

Went swimming this morning -- 70 laps non-stop.

And now I could totally use a muffin. And I think I'll hang up my new shower curtain.

We may or may not be going camping this weekend. Luke is aware that he has one (ONE) chance to deliver an amazing, wonderful, inspiring camping experience. If it goes wrong? I don't think I'll feel like going camping again (just a suspicion).

This is our last weekend together, really before wedding pressure sets in full force. He'll be gone starting next Friday for almost two weeks ... he gets back Thursday and I leave the next Monday for the wedding madness.

Coming soon: thoughts on how to keep myself from going crazy while Luke is gone.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You've got the time -- now read the post

Brace yourself folks, a long post coming your way.

First I'll start by prattling on and on about our completely awesome weekend. And to make sure you're paying attention, I'm going to post some rather embarrassing pictures of Luke and I making animal faces into my camera.

It started with a beautiful Saturday morning spent kayaking on American Lake on Fort Lewis for about two hours. So. Great. It was sunny, and warm ... ah, wonderful. Act 2 of the day was taking a wonderful hour long afternoon nap. Mmm delightful.

But the best part was a trip up to Seattle for the Folk Life Festival. It was like every hippie in a 200 mile radius came out of their beaded curtain hideaway to hug each other and be weird together. Thousands of them. And we were there too.

That's just a few of them. Sadly, I did not get any good pictures of the really weird people we saw -- like the girl who was wearing nothing except ducktape and a scarf around her waiste (no, not kidding).

I did, however, get photos of Luke and I acting VERY weird.

Here we are pretending to be parakeets.

And rhinoceroses ... 0r rhinoceri. ... Who knew my face could even DO that?! Amazing.

But the best thing is this picture .. check out the guy in the background laughing at us:

(please ignore my 7,000 chins featured in this photo)

And in case you forgot that we could look normal:

The best part of the WHOLE THING, though, was dancing to a fabulous blue grass band after dark with a thousand or so very interesting people. Want pictures of that? Sorry! No dice.

Sunday was spent doing perfectly normal things like going to IKEA and cleaning up the 3,000 tons of crap that somehow has accumulated in the spare bedroom over the past few weeks. ... and yesterday I went swimming, ate a delicious burger, went for a walk in the woods with my boy, looked at water and made ourselves real Northwest residents by buying some way cool Teva sandals that may or may not be worn with socks at a later date.

Luke will probably be switched to a new platoon come August where his primary job will be blowing stuff up.

So now I'm a little reluctant to get crazy involved with our FRG, because we'll be switching in late summer. Granted, I've heard great things about the FRG leader of this particular group, but I kind of like the people I've met so far in our current one ...


And now for the time when I write random tidbits that don't mean anything to anyone, yet you read them anyway. Why? Not sure.

-- I was lazy today and only swam 60 laps instead of 90.
-- Somehow I weigh more than I have in a long time. Ridiculous and discouraging. But I dont FEEL that fat, so perhaps that's to blame on the muscle I'm building swimming and stuff? I'm going to run with that.
-- I'm getting my nails done today after work to make me feel better about the fact that Luke will be gone for the next three days "executing missions." Whatever that means.
-- I cry every time we take communion in church, and not for the reason you think.
-- This morning I made strawberry muffins with crumble top. Abigail and I will test them at lunch.
-- Luke hung a shelf for me just inside the door. It's the perfect height for me to hit my head on every time I come out of the kitchen.
-- I love Luke for many reasons. I'll spare you the details.
-- I want to buy a kayak.

Abigail tagged me for this silliness, so I figured I'd oblige ... but I'm going to be evil and not tag anyone at the end. So there.

1. Listening to really awful punk rock while finishing up my first year at Verity
2. Trying to convince people that I was NOT head-over-heals for a college friend who had just finished his degree while trying to reconcile how I felt for him with myself.
3. Saying goodbye to the Gambles
4. Being really stupid. Man my blog from this time last year makes me sound like I'm 12. What is the deal?


1. Work
2. Get my nails done
3. Clean the bathtub
4. Find some sunshine and sit in it
5. Read about Jesus

1. Wheat thins
2. Muffins
3. Tea
4. Cheese
5. Pickles from work (I must agree with Abigail)

1. Help my brothers and sisters get through college
2. Travel to help people
3. Open a bakery
4. Fund a Christian girls journalism intern house in D.C.
5. Have a vacation home by the beach

1. I clean at weird times
2. I find it impossible to dress properly for whatever weather is at hand
3. Passive-agressiveness
4. I'm way selfish

1. Santa Cruz, California
2. Flint, Michigan
3. Alexandria, Virginia
4. University Park, Maryland
5. Washington, D.C.

1-3. Journalist at various papers
4. Starbucks
5. Lacoste coffee house

Thursday, May 22, 2008

FRG Superstar

Ah, the Army.

I went to my first Family Readiness Group (FRG) meeting Tuesday evening with Luke. Picture a room of about 50 people bracing themselves for all the men to leave and possibly die, a plethora of small, loud children and a woman with a 1-year-old strapped to her chest trying to talk above them and you've got the Charlie Company FRG.

What I saw in that room, though, was the same thing that greeted me that first Sunday in the Fort Lewis chapel -- a lot of people bracing to be hurt and needing love.

My training ground.

If Luke is going to be a chaplain this will be what I tackle everyday, but on a much larger scale. And so I'm determined to dive right in.

You'll recall that Amy does not like .. women. In general. And women's groups even less so.

An FRG is like a women's group on steroids minus Jesus. So cat fighting, status competitions and one-uping each other under tremendous stress of upcoming deployment and potential tragedy.


I better get over myself, and fast.

And thus I am diving in -- not-yet-wife Amy is planning to dive right in. I'm on the list to make meals for people who need them for whatever reason and I'm helping make breakfast (maybe muffins!) for sale (raising money for the FRG) at the motor pool as Luke heads to the field in a few weeks. ...

When I'm a bona fide wife? I smell a perfect opportunity for overcommitment! Man, I thought I was never going to get to do that here. What a relief.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gold Medal, please? Thank you.

I went swimming this morning -- the third day in a row after months and months of not swimming consistently.

I'm not a fast swimmer, really -- and my form isn't the best. And I cant flip turn because I split my toe open that one time and now I'm afraid.

But the little old people in the hot tub thought I was fan-tast-ic anyway.

"Do you swim competitively?"

Um, no.

"Are you the girl who has gone to the Olympics?"

HA! No.

I think those little old people were planted to make me feel good about myself. I mean, "where's your gold medal?" is so much better than "are you pregnant?"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Thought On Acting

This may sound too simple, but the abundant life that Jesus promises is ushered in through the choices we make in the ordinary moments of life. Even those who change the world, who make a difference in history, who live life rather than simply watch it, have at least one common characteristic among them: they do something. They don't just watch; they don't just think about it; they act. When we react, life invades our space, intrudes on our comfort, interrupts our apathy, and forces us to respond. But to react is different than to act. We react when we are forced out of neutrality. We act when we refuse to stay there. If there is one secret to seizing divine moments, it is that you must take initiative. -- Erwin McManus, "Chasing Daylight."

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Ants Go Marching (and so on, and so forth)

One day a few weeks ago, I walked into my apartment to see a few little ants crawling about my counter.

"Lovely," thought I.

So I took myself down to the leasing office and got the little repair man (he IS little ... ) to come and put in ant poison. I, as crazy clean woman, leave no crumbs, or none to speak of. So really, the ant poison should've worked.

Except that it didn't. ... and after a truly wonderful weekend with wonderful, beautiful warm weather, the ants came back.

In force. Driven to eat microscopic bits of Lord knows what. There's also the distinct possibility that they are not eating anything and there purely and simply to annoy me -- I bleach the counter before I leave the house, so what could they POSSIBLY be munching on?!

Also, brand new information -- they get in under the very, very, small crack in the caulk on the front of the sink.


And now for Tidbit Time, the time in the day where I spew forth bits of information you care nothing about, but for an unknown reason, read anyway.

-- Luke is cooking hamburgers for dinner
-- Wheat thins are very delicious
-- I. Hate. Ants.
-- I went on a walk around the dog park, without the dog, seeing as I dont have one, and my not-dog was busy.
-- I'm hungry.
-- I got my nails done today.
-- I sneezed on Sunday during church and somehow managed to hurt my neck. It was kind of funny, except not.
-- I'm going to go swimming early tomorrow morning.
-- I am currently sore from swimming today (which I did after finding the stupid gym. It was lost temporarily).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Strawberry Banana Crumble Top Muffins

Strawberry Banana Crumble Top Muffins.

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 banana
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon muffins
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. In a small bowl, combine the strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside for 1 hour. Drain, reserving liquid and berries separately.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large 6 cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and the banana, well mashed. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the juice from the berries. Gently fold in the berries. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Next time I'm going to add cinnamon to the crumble top and leave out the banana ... reducing the nutmeg by 1/2. We'll see what happens then. Overall they are pretty good -- not too banana heavy and pretty moist. The strawberries couldve been more evenly distributed -- I might try adding 2 cups instead of what it calls for and mixing them a little better. ... I like the fact that they have no oil.

My Not-Dog

A photo of my not-dog, Mosa. Mosa and I like to go to the dog park in the morning ....

In other news, I think I'm going to start getting up at a decent hour again and going to the gym, then coming home and working, then taking the dog to the park ... and THEN going to work.

Meanwhile I shall go make strawberry muffins. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

You're Fat. YOU are the reason for Global Warming.

That's right, according to Snarf, who says it's according to some fancy British school, global warming, climate change, food shortage -- basically everything EXCEPT for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- can be blamed on obesity.

That's right. Fat people make the world warmer. And emptier. And makes it have less food.

So, you know ...

Diet for climate change!

You know what they say about cheaters ...

Well, apparently my coworker doesn't.

She doesn't offered me upwards of $100 to complete the remaining five assignments in her journalism class for her. As in, cheating.

I said "no." She seemed surprised --- apparently most people usually agree.

(She's done this before?!)

Cue Carnival Music

Luke and I have been attending a Wednesday night newcomers class at the church we've been attending, FBC. It's sparked me thinking again about church theory, how to invest in people, the value of investing in people in and out of the church walls, how best to get involved, etc.

I listened this morning to a sermon by Pastor Heather given last year that I somehow missed (I think I might have been upstairs working the Ebs counter. Whatever.) on our misconceptions of what church is supposed to mean to us and how it's become something of a carnival aimed at making us happy.

My gut reaction to that is "oh, that's true in those mega churches, but not at the theologically based, more traditional churches I've attended most of my life."


The point of me sharing this is to throw it out there that perhaps we ARE going to church -- no matter how holy and solemn that church may be -- for the wrong reasons and looking to it for something that it's not supposed to be. Pay attention to the second and third points especially.

Myths about church:
1. Church is a building and event in which I worship God.
Wrong! The church is a community of people in which God is worshiped. [I'd alter this to say that the church is a community formed by Christ around Christ for His worship... this is the point we studied in our class this past week].
2. The church exists primarily to fulfill my needs.
Wrong!. Church is not about what you get out of it, but what you bring to it. So, what are you bringing to it? At this point I go and sit in the same spot each week and talk to my friends and then eat food. What am I investing?
3. The church exists primarily to educate me about the Bible.
Wrong again! The job of the church is not to feed you. The job is to equip you to feed yourself. Hmmm ... interesting change in mentality. I mean, don't we go to church to hear a good sermon and make ourselves feel all holy and knowledgeable and ready for the week?

Good stuff.

It's a BEAUTIFUL DAY here in Washington, and before I trap myself in a coffee house all day, I think I'm going to find a way to go out and enjoy it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Amy Conquers The Muffin

Muffin vs. Amy ... Amy wins!

The perfect low-fat banana muffin, weighing in at 115 calories .... Bam!

Banana Oat Muffins


TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup sweetened applesauce


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, bananas, brown sugar, milk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in pecans.
Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 dozen.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Leaning Tower of Ego

It's like a game of Jenga -- which image/weight/feeling piece will be pulled next to make Amy topple?

It's like instead of expecting people to build me up, instead of trusting that they are here to make me feel better and accepting slips of words in stride as comical mistakes, I expect people, at any moment, to hurt me. Words aren't mistakes -- they are an oozing of how they really feel about the matter in a calculated attempt to hurt me (the goal, after all).

I know, of course, that hurt is not the goal. I know that that is about as far from what they want to do as anything else ... So why can't I accept that? Why can't I just trust?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Baby love

I love me some babies.

I didn't used to be this way. I swear, I used to basically not like babies at all. I can recall like it was yesterday a scene in the basement of 205 F Street where the Saturday night nursery was set up.

"Don't you want kids?" Jenn Clark said.

"Um. Me?! *snort. No! No no no no. You have kids. Ill enjoy them. I already had my family."

This refers, of course, to my 123,154,756,234 brothers and sisters (OK, OK it's more like 7. Whatever) that I feel Ive had a heavy hand in raising. I dont really need MORE kids. That's totally enough.

Yeah I don't really feel that way any more.

I WANT a baby. I mean, not right now, obviously. And I totally have a fear of being married-for-a-year-with-a-kid woman ... but that doesn't change the baby love....


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Call Me Mrs. Clean

My head is a jumble of thoughts, feelings, contemplations, actions and blog posts respectively. The clutter will likely reflect in this post -- you've been forewarned. I'm even going to utilize the "bold" feature to break things up a little bit, as I anticipate this being rather long.

First topic: loving people.

As you all know (or don't -- whatever), I don't really love people. I simply pretend. I was able to re-certify this as true last week with all the jealousy. I feel like I get two points, too, for refusing to discuss the jealousy in specific terms, therefore increasing the speed in which I am able to get over myself and come to this conclusion:

The jealousy is because I don't love people. I want to be loved by them.

If I was "all love people all the time" girl, I would not care if I was one of the "cool people" and part of the "exclusive group." I would simply wonder "how can I love people." I would then realize that being extra cool wouldn't help me love people at all. In fact, not being considered special probably helps me love people more.

And oh yes, I plan to tell you how.

I've been memorizing Romans 12. Slooooooooowwwwlly. But still, doing it. And one of the verses I just memorized, verse three (I think,) says:

"For I say to you, through the grace given me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each a measure of faith."

Now, I pretty much think I'm the coolest, most spiritual, most worthy of fellowship and all hanging out person most people have met. But perhaps (shocking) that's a bit too ofty of an opinion.


Maybe, if I think less of myself, I will be able to love people more.

Interesting thought.

Part two of loving people: how shall I do it?

After contemplating my grocery bill and concluding that the cost of sugar can be pegged on making dessert for hungry boys, I decided that really what I should be doing is giving said boys more of a nutritional foundation.

Enter weekly dinners.

I tried to start this last Tuesday, but the hungry boy bailed. If we can't rope him in next week, I'll move on to someone else who is hungry. But I WILL start feeding people weekly.

Second project in this is person adoption. The current person is a girl in my Bible study whose husband gets home next Wednesday. She needs a lot of love and a lot of patience and a lot of people saying "calm down." So that's what I'm doing -- at least until her boy gets back. Then there shall be a break and she'll probably need all of those things again.

Amy = loving people.

Second topic: work place drama

When I was in a newsroom I concluded that the constant drama could be blamed on putting a group of people who gossip for a living in the same room for an extended period of time. I mean, that's just a recipe for drama.

I have no good explanation for the drama of the coffee house.

In the last week: coworkers who leave their work for other people have gotten lectures from the boss man for not doing their jobs; coworker makes out with customer who hangs out here a lot after closing against far wall; toilet gets clogged; another coworker tells second coworker who tells me that the boss told her that yet a different coworker is getting fired soon; I offer to take a coworkers shift during which Young Life is coming to use the building for her so that she won't hate on them and go off endlessly about how praying is stupid; the vacuum is not working -- how long has this been the case? No one knows because no one ever vacuums; coworker talks to make out buddy who says that he plans to sleep with the coworker he was making out with and then dump her to teach a lesson about getting too attached to people ...

And I could go on.

Good. Grief. But then again, what would happen if all the drama went away? Would we just find new drama? Is drama necessary to keep me a happy and content currently non-reporter?

Topic three: slow cookers

I caved and bought myself a slow cooker the other day with the gift card gained from returning some of the items received at my "happy underwears" party. I know, I know, people would get it for me as a wedding gift. But I wanted it RIGHT THEN. So, I got it.

Enter slow cooker city, the city in which things are cooked very, very slowly.


Luke was so excited about all the upcoming sluggish meals that he even clapped a little bit -- slow cooked pork! slow cooked beef! slow cooked chili!

Good times.

Topic four: markets with farmers

Favorite D.C. past time was Eastern Market on Saturday/Sunday. Fresh veggies, people wandering about, Tunnicliffs pancakes -- what more do you want?

I am pleased to announce that farmers go to market here, as well. Woohoo!

And so, to market to market I go, starting this Saturday.

And now, I am done.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fear. Lots and lots of fear.

I have three major fears:
-- Spiders
-- Earthquakes
-- Rubber Chickens

(OK, that last one was a joke).

But seriously, spiders is number one. I am terrified. Absolutely petrified. As in, heart stop, panic, shaking.

Not. Happy.

And so you can imagine my reaction this morning when, after going in and out of the bathroom for multiple hours from the time I got up I noticed The World's Largest Spider on the wall above the shower.

I almost died.

(OK, maybe Im exaggerating a little).

What DID die was the spider.

I'm a little (ok, um, a lot) passive aggressive when it comes to dealing with fears, spiders included.

And so the Giant Spider from Hades received death by sprayed bleach and was quickly washed down the bath tub drain.

I'm convinced myself that there is not so much a nest of Giant Spiders from Hades in my new apartment as a boy who forgets to close the back door at night and therefore, screen door with a crack not withstanding, lets giant bugs in my house.

(This, of course, is the same boy who doesnt hang up the bathmat and loves pork. I'll give you one guess).

(It's also very convenient for me to blame said boy for the giant spider, even though it's likely not his fault at all. It makes me feel better. Remember: there is a land called Passive Agressiva, and I am its Queen).

Muffin Update

Thought: if you're going to increase the oats by half a cup, do yourself a favor and also increase the sugar. If you don't, guess what? Your muffins will taste like plain oatmeal.


The good news is that the increases (half a cup more oats, half a teaspoon more baking powder) achieved the desired consistency. They are now high and much more dry... more sugar (white instead of the brown already used, I think) will solve the "blahness" problem.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Underwears and More Jealousy

I dont really have anything witty or particularly interesting to say, other than my lingerie party thrown by the amazing and wonderful Abigail Saturday evening was a smash -- a lot of fun, very chill and I scored some very interesting, um, pieces along with a dish towel (don't ask). Woo! Good times all around

Random thought: I think Luke has almost eaten an entire bowl of cereal in this one sitting. Amazing.

Last statement until I feel more wordy (and/or get over myself. Hahahha. Like I'm ever going to succeed at that!) -- I hate being excluded.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I'm a person who wants things she can't or simply doesn't have.

The desires usually center around wanting to be or belong to something I am not. Whether it is a certain level of fame, a occupational goal that I am unable to achieve for one reason or another or a clique (intentional or unintentional) that I am blocked from ... I feel like a failure because I am unable to break in. I feel not good enough, unwanted, whatever.

This manifests itself in different ways. I hate being left out of things, however minor they may seem. I may not even show up, but I like to be invited. It simply makes me feel good.

This is not the first time I have blogged about this. No, not the first time at all.

And I wonder if someday I will be able to get over myself, accept who I am (or, as it feels now, who I am stuck being), the circles I belong to and stop basing my worth on how many groups of people pine after my company.